About Our University
CollectivED Research Associate and Facilitator
About Ruth Whiteside
The whole of my teaching career seems to have stemmed from an insatiable nosiness about why people behave as they do! As a new teacher at the age of 30, I was immediately drawn to small scale action research projects in my classroom so that I could better support the children I taught. This stayed with me for my twenty years as teacher and senior leader, including an M.Ed. in Practitioner Enquiry (Leadership) at Newcastle University. My dissertation looked at coaching in a culture of performativity – and having attempted to use coaching as a means to address underperformance in school, I can categorically say I do not believe we should ever use coaching in this way. I wrote about this in the first edition of the CollectivED Working Papers (Whiteside, 2017).
My experience in the classroom and working with fellow senior leaders led me into the realm of emotional intelligence – ‘put simply, it is understanding why we think, feel and act the way we do. EQ is an entirely learnable, measurable skill. It is not about navel-gazing, or obsessing about oneself; rather, it is coming to an understanding of one’s self.’ (Whiteside, 2018).
Currently, I work with colleagues in the teaching profession, as well as police, youth workers, social workers and health professionals, to explore how harnessing the power of emotional intelligence can help us to support our children and young people, particularly those who have experienced adversity and trauma.
I worked as CollectivED Research Associate alongside Professor Rachel Lofthouse on an NEU funded evaluation of headteacher coaching. This involved research with head teachers, looking at how coaching can support their needs in these increasingly complex times. Applying my own understanding of emotional intelligence to this research has shown me that coaching and EQ are inextricably linked and that both are powerful tools in supporting and guiding our behaviour, performance and the decisions we make.
As CollectivED Facilitator I support the development of models of professional learning forming part of the CollectivED CPD offer to schools and colleges.